Along with co-host Achim Steiner, I welcome you to the Senior Officials Segment of the Environmental Management Group.
Thank you Achim, for the leadership and vision you have shown in guiding the work of the Group.
And thank all of you for taking the time from your busy schedules to join us here today.
Although this is the first time that I am participating in the EMG meeting, I have followed your work closely. From your reports I know that you have advanced our technical understanding of and institutional coordination on the green economy, on “greening the blue” (I like that phrase!), biodiversity, land issues and environmental governance.
I understand that the technical session this morning was very productive and I look forward to its recommendations.
The work of the EMG is critical to the preparation and organization of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+20.
Your work will feed into elaboration of the themes of the 20120 Conference, namely “a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication”, and “the institutional framework for sustainable development”.
Your Issues Management Group has dedicated itself to specific challenges such as clarifying the definition and parameters of the term “green economy”. Consensus on such issues is essential for creating a clear, strong and actionable agreement in Rio in 2012.
With a view to strengthening inter-agency collaboration in support of Rio+20, I have also proposed that the EMG and UNDG collaborate more closely. As UNDG coordinates UN agency support for developing countries, their input and feedback on all aspects of Rio+20 preparation is crucial.
While success in Rio+20 is foremost on my mind, I haven’t forgotten about other matters. I am very interested in developments on land issues - a theme from CSD17 last year. Your upcoming report will contribute enormously to the plans of the CSD Bureau to accelerate implementation of CSD17 decisions.
Sustainable procurement is also of rising importance. I look forward to the EMG reports that will present practical techniques and solutions on this issue.
Rio+20 will be a major UN conference on sustainable development in the coming years. We have a historic opportunity to have an impact . As such, the work of the EMG is of critical importance to the entire UN system. Let us work together to make it happen.
Thank you again to all of you for your presence and participation here today. I look forward to stimulating and productive discussions.